M Night Shyamalan has officially begun filming Glass, a follow-up to his most recent movie, Split, as well as a sequel to the decades-old Unbreakable.
Shyamalan is known primarily as a purveyor of surprise twist endings in his movies, which is a difficult reputation to live up to – if any film fails to deliver a satisfying Sixth Sense moment, audiences will leave theaters disappointed with the entire movie.
The twist ending of Split managed to catch people’s attention in a big way, though, when it was revealed that (spoiler alert) the movie was secretly set in the same universe as Unbreakable. This proved to be one secret that audiences couldn’t help but share widely online.
So how can Shyamalan top that? How can he make sure that Glass lives up to audiences’ desire for a smart, satisfying twist ending when his last surprise essentially boiled down to being a quick set-up for the Shyamalan Avengers?
Perhaps the secret is to not provide any big twist at all, but simply to let this movie play out in a linear fashion with only the standard typical surprises to punctuate the story.
After all, if audiences are desperately seeking a plot twist, they’ll be watching everything incredibly carefully, trying to guess what’s coming next and how the story might be bent around to face in a new direction during the third act.
What if, instead, Shyamalan teases audiences with a few red herrings, giving the suggestion that there’s more going on than meets the eye, only to subvert everyone’s expectations with a clearly telegraphed ending?
Shyamalan could even draw attention to his plot’s resolution ahead of time by foreshadowing his film’s conclusion, making it look very obvious where things are going. Audiences would keep waiting for the penny to drop, only to discover that they’d known what was coming all along.
Okay, so maybe this wouldn’t be the most exciting way to tell a story, and people might leave feeling a little disappointed, but then it introduces the element of surprise into future Shyamalan movies in the series.
Is the film going to have a strange twist at the end? Or is it going to play out straight? There’s no way of knowing, and that makes things more exciting.
Or, maybe Glass can be played straight all the way through, and then in the post-credits scene it’s revealed that it was all a dream, or it took place inside a snowglobe, or some other trite conclusion.
This is M Night Shyamalan we’re talking about – apart from plot twists, he doesn’t have much going for him in terms of public popularity!